The ACWA Board of Directors, its officers and members would like to welcome you to the online home of the American Chuck Wagon Association, a 501.c.3 organization.
The American Chuck Wagon Association started out as a small group of Old West enthusiasts and has expanded to world wide association preserving the American past through competitions, demonstrations, charity and school events and other venues.
Our work is funded by sponsorships (see the power point presentation shown below-right); tax-free donations, honorariums and memorials
(We are a 501.c.3 organization);
cookbook, note card, t-shirt & cap sales in our General Store (go shopping), as well as membership dues.
For donations, honorariums and memorials, you may send a check to:
ACWA, 1723 East Tate Street, Brownfield, TX 79316 or call Nancy Sparks at (806)215-7851 with credit card information. For Honorariums and Memorials, please include the name of the person remembered/honored, and address for a thank you card.
Our youth are our future and the ACWA supports activities directly involving them. We encourage producers to offer youth
competition at their cook offs whenever possible. Many of our cooking crews include young people at the cook offs.
The Association also periodically honors an outstanding young cook with the Rookie of the Year award.
In addition, the ACWA offers scholarships (read more) to selected individuals each year. If interested, download an application here. Scholarship recipients for the upcoming school year are Caleb Swanson from Canton, SD, and Chelsea Carter from Prairie Hill, TX. One of our recipients recently sent an update you may read here.
Another way to involve and educate our youth is with demonstrations. At one cook off, invitations were given to area schools to come on Friday. There were busloads coming and going a good portion of the day. The students were wonderful and the three host wagons enjoyed sharing their camps and telling a little about the history of the chuck wagon and the trail drives.
Want to take home some of that authentic, Old West taste and style? Now you can with ACWA Cookbooks, beautiful note cards and caps!
Many of our members offer catering services. Check out the link above to contact one of them about bringing some of the finest chuck wagon cooking to your next event.
It is March 2017 and the first ACWA Championship Cook Off is just a few weeks away.
I would like to provide a little history on sanctioned cook offs and the ACWA Championship Cook Off.
There had been talk among the wagon teams about the lack of consistency between cook offs.
Several people had suggested sanctioning as a way to create uniformity among the cook offs.
It is amazing how time has passed since the first meeting in Abilene, Texas, in March of 2014! This meeting was to explore the possibility of ACWA sanctioned cook offs to qualify for an annual ACWA Championship Cook Off. This cook off would be a way of having the "Best of the Best" from around the nation compete for an annual championship! The consensus of the group in Abilene was ACWA should pursue developing sanctioning rules and sanctioned cook offs. So three sanctioned cook off committees were formed: wagon judging, food judging and general rules.
In September, 2014, there was a rendezvous of ACWA members held at Fort Martin Scott in Fredericksburg, TX. There was discussion about having the first ACWA Championship Cook Off in Fredericksburg.
The next meeting was held in San Angelo in March of 2015. The three committees gave a report on their suggestions and the group in attendance made recommendations for changes. The committees were instructed to go back and review the recommendations with their committee members and to have a finalized version of the sanctioning rules ready to be presented at the 2015 ACWA Annual Meeting in Fredericksburg, TX, on October 31, 2015.
At the 2015 ACWA Annual Meeting the sanctioning rules were discussed and several changes were suggested. After a lot of discussion, it was proposed and voted on by all to allow the Board of Directors the authority to make changes as needed since the rules were seen as a "living document" and could require adjustments throughout the year. It was at this meeting I was first elected as the ACWA President. At that point my upbringing kicked in of when handed something you give your best efforts to ensure it works.
In 2016 there were 11 sanctioned cook offs with the top 3 overall winners that were ACWA members qualifying for the first ACWA Championship Cook Off. At the close of 2016 there were 29 chuck wagon teams qualified for the first ACWA Championship Cook Off. As of this date there are 14 of those chuck wagon teams coming to Fredericksburg to compete to be the Overall Winner of the first ACWA Championship Cook Off. There were various reasons why the other 15 will not be attending but were excited to qualify for the first!
Probably the biggest news is the changing of our location from the Former Texas Rangers Heritage Center and Fort Martin Scott to the Gillespie County Fairgrounds. The new location at the Gillespie County Fairground has parking for 4000 and has a large Exhibit Hall which will seat 1000 at tables with chairs, and be heated if necessary. The area where the 14 qualified wagons from Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas will set up in a semicircle is flat and level allowing easy access for unloading and loading. All the area is secure and within easy walking distance to the Exhibit Hall. There are plenty of restrooms inside the Exhibit Hall which means no porta potties!
Across from the competing wagons there will be two chuck wagon camps set up for display with volunteers on hand to explain the chuck wagon and camp setup. Hopefully this will reduce the interruptions to the cooking teams while they are cooking. Also there will be exhibitors displaying their crafts along with ACWA merchandise and Ticket Will Call inside the Exhibit Hall.
There are a limited number of tickets so hopefully you have gone to the ACWA website under the General Store tab and purchased your tickets, if not you need to hurry as online ticket sales will close at 6PM on Sunday March 26th!
Once again, the schedule for the ACWA Championship Cook Off is as follows:
Thursday, March 30 - 9:00 AM - 2:30 PM - Youth education demonstrations by the Texas Parks and Wildlife's Buffalo Soldiers and 8 other stations depicting the chuck wagon era for approximately 250 4th graders from Fredericksburg ISD and Hunt ISD. Chuck wagon teams move in and setup.
Friday March 31 - 8:00 AM Chuck wagon judging starts.
3:30 PM - 6:00 PM - Youth Cook Off for up to 36 area youth has been cancelled due to lack of interest from the local youth.
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM - Chuck wagon teams and volunteer appreciation dinner in the Exhibit Hall.
Saturday April 1 - 10:00 AM - Vendors, Texas Parks and Wildlife's Buffalo Soldiers, chuck wagon displays and chuck wagon teams cooking for competition with the meal being served at 12:15 PM.
4:00 PM Awards ceremony in the Exhibit Hall.
As we start 2017 there are five sanctioned cook offs scheduled for you to qualify for the 2018 ACWA Championship Cook Off. They are:
Lazy E Arena - Guthrie OK - March 3-4
Wild West Fest - Andrews TX - April 21-22
Bob Drake Memorial CW Cook Off - Breckenridge TX - May 5-6
A Painted View Cook Off - Westcliffe CO - August 19
Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook Off - Chandler, AZ - November 10-11
At each of these sanctioned events the top two overall winners who are ACWA members by the end of the cook's meeting, (which means they could join ACWA at the sanctioned event before the cook's meeting) will qualify for the ACWA Championship Cook Off in 2018.
Don't forget Wagon for Warriors, May 26-27, 2017, in Lebanon, MO. In talking with Steve Hull, his goal is to have at least 35 wagons this year. Let's all pull together to help Steve meet or exceed this goal. Wagons for Warriors raises money to help wounded veterans and their families during their rehabilitation and recovery. Anyone who owns a chuck wagon needs to get involved as a way to say "THANK YOU" to those who have served our country. For more information on this event you can contact Steve Hull at www.stillhangin.com or www.wagonsforwarriors.com.
Once again I bring up the following as it is approaching the time of the year to submit names to Brian Frankum, Chairman of the Education, Youth and Scholarship committee for consideration for the two ACWA scholarships. Two years ago there was only one name submitted and last year there were only two names submitted. Come on folks, we need to make Brian and his committee work harder! Let?s see if we can get 8 -10 names submitted this year for the two scholarships!
Well I had better wrap things up for this month, but hope to see you at the first ACWA Championship Cook Off or at one of the cook offs throughout the year.
"WOULDN'T IT BE NICE IF PEOPLE WOULD PUT FORTH THE SAME EFFORT TO MAKE SOMETHING WORK AS THEY DO COMPLAINING ABOUT HOW IT WILL NOT WORK. BRING FORTH NOT ONLY PROBLEMS BUT SOLUTIONS OR STAY QUIET!" W.J. "BILL" THOMAS
Until next time, Happy Trails!
2017 ACWA President
In 1996 at a chuck wagon competition in Amarillo, Texas, a small group of Old West enthusiasts and wagon masters talked about an
association. The mission would be to preserve the heritage of the chuck wagon and its use in the short, but significant, era of the cattle
drives. In 1997, in Bryson, Texas, by-laws and articles of operationwere adopted and the American Chuck Wagon Association was off and
running. Today there are members in 31 states, Canada, Germany and France.
In 2016, the original mission statement was revised and Sanctioning was approved. The revised mission statement reads as follows:
The mission statement of the American Chuck Wagon Association is to preserve the history of the Chuck Wagon Era by providing educational opportunities and events to diverse audiences of all ages while continuing to provide youth scholarships and support for wounded warriors.